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Helping Women Plan Their Families
Twenty-one-year-old Margarita Bernard’s first pregnancy came as a surprise midway through her final year of high school.
“I was not looking to become a mother,” said Margarita. “I started having sex, but I had no idea about contraception.” Margarita, who shares two rooms with her mother and six siblings, said sex was never spoken of at home or the Catholic school she attended. As an undocumented Haitian immigrant in the Dominican Republic, Margarita had few places to turn for help in Los Almácigos, the impoverished community where she lives. Many of her friends told her contraception would make her fat, sick, or go crazy. Health clinics often discriminate against women like Margarita or give them false information. But Margarita was determined not to have another child until she was ready.
It wasn’t until she found out about our Member Association, Profamilia, that Margarita received the care she needed. There, after learning about various contraceptive methods, Margarita chose a three-year implant and continues to receive sexual and reproductive health care and education— for free.
“Profamilia took care of me,” said Margarita. “They explained all of the different methods and helped me choose the one that’s right for me. And I wasn’t treated differently because I have no money and no papers.”
Now Margarita shares her positive experience at Profamilia with young people in her community and teaches her friends about contraception and reproductive health. Margarita, who was unable to go to college because she is undocumented, hopes to eventually continue her studies and become a teacher. “Knowing that I can plan my own family helps me feel more secure in my future,” said Margarita.